Old Dominion stuffs Southern Miss with late goal line stand

Published 11:36 pm Saturday, October 7, 2023

HATTIESBURG — Yards and points were hard to come by for Southern Miss — especially the one yard that would’ve changed everything.

Old Dominion stoned Southern Miss with a goal line stand in the fourth quarter, after scoring 10 unanswered points that gave it a 17-13 victory over the Golden Eagles on Saturday night.

Southern Miss had scored 73 points in its previous two games but did not have an offensive touchdown on Saturday.

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“We just didn’t score — it’s as simple as that, we never scored. We just didn’t take advantage of the opportunities offensively and score like we had done in the last two weeks,” Southern Miss head coach Will Hall said. “We came into this game extremely hot offensively, trying to get our defense back going and our kicking game back going, and it flipped completely. We were playing well in two places, but we just never scored to take that momentum over.”

Keshawn Wicks ran for 54 yards and two touchdowns for Old Dominion (3-3, 2-1 Sun Belt Conference), and Mississippi native Kadarius Calloway had 93 rushing yards.

Southern Miss’ only points came on an 82-yard punt return by Tiaquelin Mims and field goals of 21 and 31 yards by Andrew Stein. Stein’s second field goal put Southern Miss ahead 13-7 midway through the third quarter, but the lead did not hold.

Ethan Sanchez kicked a 31-yard field goal and Wicks’ 16-yard TD run with 11:19 remaining in the fourth quarter put the Monarchs ahead 17-13.

“They overcame me making a stupid decision in not kicking the field goal, so sometimes you need good players to overcome a bad decision like that. I’m just so proud of these guys-they played their tails off,” Old Dominion coach Ricky Rahne said.

Southern Miss held the ball for more than seven minutes on its next possession after Wicks’ touchdown. It had first-and-goal at the Old Dominion 5-yard line, but couldn’t punch it in. Two runs from the 2-yard line were stuffed, with Frank Gore Jr. getting stopped a half-yard short of the goal line on fourth down with 3:51 to go.

Wicks caught a 12-yard pass on third-and-10 from the 1-yard line, and he ran to convert another third down that iced the game with 1:04 to go. The Monarchs were able to take a knee and run out the clock after that.

Wicks appeared to be tackled short of the first down while running to the right side on his second conversion. However, he got away from two would-be tacklers and had a 9-yard gain for the clinching first down.

“Games like this show our toughness and our resilience,” Wicks said.

Southern Miss (1-5, 0-3) will be off next Saturday, and back in action for an odd Tuesday night road game at South Alabama on Oct. 17. Hall said the Golden Eagles will try to use the extra couple of days to their advantage.

“We’re going to go to work. We’re going to get back in here and watch the tape with the kids and continue to work. There’s no quit in this bunch and we’re going to keep getting better,” Hall said. “We improved in a lot of areas. We played much better defensively and in the kicking game, and we’re going to address issues head-on and we’re going to fix them.”